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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  December 2, 2012 7:00am-9:00am PST

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good morning. i'm melissa harris-perry. earlier this year, nerdland made a contribution to the political lexicon with the term premature speculation. you know, it's the way we in the media jump the gun to call the winner before the race really gets going. well, this week we beg your forgiveness for our own more than slight case of premature speculation. but fact is fact. even before we've inaugurated the election of 2012, positioning has begun for election 2016. there was former florida governor jeb bush, just this week making political reporters salivate by getting about his close to the white house as he could without actually being in it. he met with a group of former staffers at a hotel on pennsylvania avenue giving a smile and a coy response when asked about his plans to one day vie to occupy the presidential mansion just up the block. then just two saturdays ago, florida senator marco rubio was
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showing a little leg in iowa showing this early nominating state where he broke a fundraising record for the governor there. on tuesday night, this week, rubio and another potential gop heir apparent, congressman paul ryan are looking to get their political weight up by laying out their respective road maps for the jack kemp foundation. republicans ready to turn the page are introducing their new class of hopefuls, nice and early. it's a big class. a herd if you will of elephants stampeding toward 2016. there are those whose ethnic heritage alone will help to put a new face on the gop. in addition to senator rubio, there's new mexico governor susanna martinez, louisiana governor bobby jindal, south carolina governor nicki hailey and brian sandoval. two of the contenders intersect
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with the contingent of women would-be nominees. along with minnesota congressman michele bachmann. she isn't the only do over on the list. she's joined by fellow pennsylvania senator rick santorum and texas governor rick perry. texas congressman ron paul for once isn't on the list. but his son, senator rand paul, is creating a category with jeb bush that we're going to call relatively speaking. then there are the guys weighing a presidential run who let's say say national name recognition isn't a strong point. john thune and indiana governor-elect mike pence may not win national popularity contests at least this year, but both have been hailed for their leadership potential. as shining stars in the gop. they may have to compete for the party faithful, but those
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accustomed to a certain level of national fame, if not infamy. those like new jersey governor chris christie. perhaps, the only contender to have actually hugged president obama. or ohio senator rob portman, a constant presence next to mitt romney on the trail. virginia governor, bob mcdonnell, of the transvaginal proposal and scott walker whose union fighting ways made him a darling of the tea party. just to be clear, reports of the demise of the republican party are greatly exaggerated. the gop may have taken a licking, but they will most certainly keep on ticking. still, let's not be fooled by this new herd into thinking that we have a new party. reformed from lessons of november 6th. from this class alone, governors jindal, rick perry, scott walker have signalled their refusal to set up state-run health exchanges required by the affordable care act. marco rubio, paul ryan, michele
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bachmann, john thune and others have sworn allegiance to grover norquist by signing on to the federal taxpayer protection pledge. all thee three of the rising stars are women that doesn't mean they support women's reproductive choices. several would deny the women the right guaranteed to them by roe v. wade. even as the new herd presents your fresh faces, it's array of gender and versatility that we in nerdland will take each of you at face value. but will then move on quickly to ask what are your new ideas? at the table, matt welch is editor in chief of reason. editor in reason of chief magazine and the co-author of declaration of independence. conservative writer tara wall was a senior media adviser for.
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an associate professor of science at columbia university. a fellow at the roosevelt institute and manuel reyes. thanks for having you here. it's nice to have you. tara, welcome to nerdland. >> how did i know you were coming to me first. >> now i would like you to explain your party. >> lay it all on the table. >> in a certain way, it's so early, i feel silly talking about it. but i do think it's important that we not sort of come out of a win as i've seen both parties do in midterm elections or general elections with this narrative, oh, the other party is over. this is the decisive election. i don't think we see anything like that. when you look at the new herd, what seems to you like the things that are different? >> i think, number one, there are a couple of things. i think as you mentioned, it is a little more diverse, both
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ethnically and sexwise. i mean, you have a few more women which i think is great. i think after any election, everybody does recalibrating and lessons learned. i think what you don't want to lose sight of is the fact that there are a number of governors in there. in fact, gop governors have done exceptionally well. 30 of 50 governors are republican governors. they will argue that they run at the state level, they're elected at the state level. even though the election was close and president obama won and that is what the majority wanted. at the end of the day, i think that notion about fiscal conservative and those notions are ever present for the governor who is are strapped with facing real issues relative to their budgets. i interviewed a governor about implementing obama care in the wake of all this. i think there is -- it's still very, very early to talk about who in the field. but all of these folks in their own right, i think, bring
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strengths and all that of will -- we're going to have time to met out. they have states to run. >> we got a country to run. >> i want to ask on this. what i heard you say, this deficit reduction, the economic questions, part of what i'm interested in, post '08 the conservative voices that emerge were the limbaughs and the glenn beck rather than elected leaders. what i'm wondering, is there a way in which elected republicans might help to move conservatism towards an actual conservatism as opposed to the social angst that we saw last time? >> i kind of reject the premise of the post '08. the most interesting development post '08 was something that you could not have predicted at this stage four years ago to the day, which is the rise of a pop list anti-government spending wing of the country and of the electorate.
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not anti-tax, anti-government spending. the tea party. you did get new voices talking in a different way. rand paul is not talking in the same way that a rick santorum or a newt gingrich has talked about. marco rubio doesn't talk. mike lee, there's a lot of different people who talk differently here. one question, chris christie is another. this class of 2010. that is an interesting wing. it's unclear whether that wing, if it is indeed a coherent wing, will now lead the discussion of the republican party. i think mitt romney, the analog to him is john kerry. he was a presentable, i think the other guys might not hate him type of former massachusetts -- >> went back into the senate afterward. >> the moment that he disappeared, that's the last you heard about john kerry from any democrat. he was like, enough, we're not going to do that again. there's a lot of republicans saying enough, we're not going do that again. the question is okay, what are
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you going to do that's different? from my perspective, i don't believe what a lot of democrats fear about republicans, is that they're going to do that it's very rare that you have people making a principal case for that. for the first time in a generation, there are some republicans who are actually making that case. >> i hope so. >> let me ask. there were two other things that came out. the idea of governors. in this country, we elect governors and senators and vice presidents as president, right? if you want to know who is in the running, you want to look at governors, senators and most specifically governors and vice presidents. in that way, republicans are awfully well-positioned. they just have more of those kinds of folks hanging out. but normally republicans pick the person who -- it was mccain's turn, it was romney's turn. is there anybody whose turn it is this time? >> i'm not sure the field has settled out in temps of a clear person emerging, it's their term. however, one thing that the republicans have to be cautious about going forward, it's
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terrific, i do think that it's great that you see in the new herd, a lot of diversity in gender and different ethnicities. for example, with people like susanna martinez, the governor of new mexico and brian sandoval. both were elected without -- if the republicans are putting them forward saying we have these people who hispanics will vote for because they're hispanic, it's probably not going to work. even marco rubio, in south florida he's huge, he's tied into that community. nationally, he's not well-known. 53% of latinos have not heard of him. his policies are outside of the latino mainstream. that's a danger in just putting an ethnic face out there. it's not going to work. >> i've heard dangerous. as political scientist, we love -- open season on vp biden
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will run but probably not uncontested on the democratic side. is there something specific about 2016 in terms of the rise of the tea party or the rise of diverse republicans and we ought to really be honing in on this early? >> i think when we get closer to 2016, we're going to see the fiscal fissures -- i think there are two wings of the republican party that don't agree with each other on a range of issues from climate change to immigration on a range of issues. i think we'll see those fissures come about. noticeably, there are no black contenders of the potential candidates. >> there is still a name broiling around out there. as soon as we coming, we'll stay on this issue. it's quite an interesting herd out there. i'm interested in what happens when some of the members of that
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we're back and talking about the republican hopefuls. the would-be contenders for the presidential election in 2016. i want to look at the national journal poll which asks democrats and republicans about their interest in some of these contende contenders. might be a bit hard to say. jeb bush is leading both democrats and republicans in terms of who they think will be the strongest republican presidential nominee. nearly half of democrats saying that he is -- he would be their pick. marco rubio is at 40% with republicans. he's actually the strongest of the republican picks. but then chris christie there, again, very, very popular among
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democrats. not quite so much among republicans. bobby jindal, my governor is coming in there. the one i love is rand paul who comes in at zero percent for both democrats and republicans in terms of thinking about the strength of his likely candidacy. let's walk through some of those folks. starting with jeb bush. really? a third bush. i'd like to hear this. >> i also think whether it's jeb bush or chris christie, this goes about the argument, you can't put someone of color up there to represent -- there has to be the platform, the policy, the messaging. these folks, jeb bush who is highly popular across urban centers, suburban centers, they have an appeal to minorities, as does chris christie. if you have the right messenger, you can still have that appeal without necessarily being a person of color as long as you understand those issues. >> he hasn't been actually in-elected office for a while, but he's making education reform
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and viewers know what i think about that. he certainly is an interesting character. i keep thinking, won't the bush last name be a liability in this case? >> maybe. but you know what, i have to say, i also -- i don't agree with all of his policies, but i have to give him a lot of credit. for two years, he's been telling the republican party they have to be more moderate and tone it down in immigration and recalibrate and nobody listened to him. he was like the lone wolf out there. i also give him credit -- i don't agree with the policies, but he's been talking a lot about education in his reforms. he likes one of his pet topics is income and equality. you don't hear republicans talking about that. those are the things that will resonate with independent voters. actually, i did see a poll recently in miami herald that showed that jeb bush was more popular among hispanics. jeb bush was more popular than rubio. it goes to your point. if you have a great message and someone who connects with the electorate. it doesn't mat -- >> the jack kemp style of
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republicans. jack kemp says -- he was a bleeding heart conservative. i like to consider, i cut myself on that same type of cloth. i think there is an appeal for that type of conservative going forward. i think it is what the party needs. the party has to decide that's what it needs to commit to. you will find popularity with he and chris christie and others like that because they have -- they rally around these policies that speak to the very heart of who we are as americans and then we can find common ground as democrats and republicans. >> my governor, bobby jindal is actively running for president right now and claims to be like let's get away from the party of stupid. his policies are not the same sort of mid range softie compassionate policies of a jeb bush. they're more hard line. >> you can also be -- people have to understand you can be compassionate and conservative. he's a mess. >> he's not. >> jeb bush is that way. bobby jindal is not. it would be a different direction to go. >> the rising electorate that
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we've been talking about the last two weeks of african-americans, latinos, asian americans, at the end of the day, going issue by issue, most of the voters don't agree with the platform. there's going to be a problem for all of the potential candidates to actually connect. not just in terms of their faces and issues of diversity but also on the issues, on choice, on climate change, on immigration reform. even though there's a shift on immigration reform, i don't think latino voters will all of a sudden flock to the republican party. >> we didn't get to mike fleck, is a state representative in pennsylvania who just came out making him the first out gay member of the republican party in pennsylvania. but i'm interested in part because that represents more libertarian impulse in the republican party, one that again feels like it's been sort of overshadowed by social conservatism in the past couple of years. i want to talk about that when we come back and that decision on friday that had all of us in nerdland shaking our heads in
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call humana at 1-800-808-4003. or go to for details. the news landed with a thud and a sigh. house speaker john boehner tried to beef it up with a statement expressing the import of the role. but announcing candace miller as the chairwoman of the house administration committee on friday. the house administration committee -- the house administration committee on friday, did little to squelch that icky feeling created by this image. these are the 19 previously announced committee chairman and unlike miller, these chairman actually hold rank over committees that work on national budgets and policy. no, your eyes are not deceiving you. want to look again. here it is. you had it right. 19 men, 19 white men and yes, we fully understand that, as republicans maintain the
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majority in the house, they get to pick the committee chairs and there is seniority to consider. pause with me a second. president obama won the women's vote by 11 points, latino by 44 point, asian-american by 47 points and the african-american by 87 points. he even won other by 20 points. anyway. they have that kind of numbers pundits espousing that democrats are destiny and that the republican party is over. speaker boehner makes his committee chair. it seemed nothing short of oblivious. let's go back to our new herd for 2016 for a moment. four women as potential -- five contenders of color. but there is no denying that as women and people of color grow in the ranks of the gop, there is room to attract potential voters as well.
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and then this morning, or just yesterday, mike fleck, a state lawmaker in pennsylvania as i was saying before the break, comes out as a gay man in his interview with a local newspaper. he is -- i'm staying in the republican party. it's not a single issued party. it starts feeling like maybe they're trying to pitch that big tent again. >> they should. their tent has been looking kind of small recently. there's a san diego guy who unfortunately lost for mayor by a couple thousand votes named karl de mayo, openly gay. david brooks screwed up and wrote a column positing him as some kind of knuckle dragging. he's openly gay and running on pension reform. what are you talking about? there is going to be, there has to be a new voice out there. they have to -- it's going to be years before they can erase the sting of 2004. when karl rove sin cli used gay marriage to rally votes against the mitt romney of the
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democratic party of 2004. they're going to have to come out from behind that. you do that by playing defense and not offense. you say big government policies force us to do things against our values. and that's what we don't want. we don't want to impose anything going forward. they have to make that switch. they haven't yet. they have to. >> it feels to me like it breaks down on the issue of women's reproductive rights. on this question of big government. you'll hear what we want is small government, right, small enough as is our joke, on a transvaginal probe as we saw in the context of bob mcdonnell. yet, this blew me away. the quinnipiac poll off bob mcdonnell's approval rating. he's actually doing quite well with women, quite well with african-americans, quite well with young people. this is the guy who proposed the transvaginal ultrasound procedures in virginia. am i missing something here? >> voters are not -- again, that
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whole single issue, you can't zero in on onish eye. i'm a little biased, he is my governor. i will give that caveat. think of the end of the day. to your point, we have to be much broader from an optics and a tone standpoint. that's obvious. those pictures speak a thousand words. to all due respect, there are very credible women and minorities within a party, within the ranks that we should elevate very credible, white men and others that we should also elevate through the ranks. i think again, they do well because of the types of things that they're doing in these states that help bridge the gap. >> let's talk about the optics for a second. on the side of politics, it does matter what it looks like when you present your party. >> right. it does. i think going forward, not just in temps of the optics, but i do think when we look at this whole new herd and aum these people, there are some people in the new herd who are part of the old herd. i think they have to get out of the way. people like rick santorum who
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are so linked to this very social conservatism that turns a lot of people off because tower years from now -- >> you have to remember the staffers of the -- the staffers of the party are conservative. no one is going to throw the baby away with the bath water with the principal believes. we should embrace other views as well. you -- >> i do think -- i guess they had been and part of this question, i hear you on not being a single issue voter. reproductive rights are not a single issue. they carry with them a package of issues about my fundamental liberties, issues about economic, a package of issues with sort of where women will be positioned vis-a-vis work and employment and all of these questions. it sounds like a single issue, but it feels much bigger than that. >> right. it covers more. like you said. i really do think that the gop
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has to go through a sort of churn to reevaluate it's own positions. politics, it's a buyers market. right now, they have a brand, they have a product that half the country does not like. i think they have to make themselves more appealing. it's up to them. >> just to comment on that poll you put up. those approval numbers are quite impressive for the governor, but attitudes don't translate into votes or behaviors. people might have approved of the governor but not vote for him necessarily. >> let's remember how much politics changes overnight. in 2006, democrats, were freaking out. how can we retake things. they put forth a lot of anti-abortion candidates. what we think now has got to be true is going to change. >> it's also interesting to point out, you have to be careful about believing the democratic party is strong. it had a strong presidential candidate. i think we made --
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>> lost horribly at the state level. >> a very similar mistake in our analysis of the clinton years. you end up with this big charismatic candidate that seems to fill up all the space that doesn't necessarily mean that the party is drawn. >> when we come back, much more on one of the fundamental issues that has been dividing this democratic and republican party. the issue of immigration. how the gop is starting to think about shifting gears on immigration and the real pressure that president obama may feel on it. that's next. [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso. in what world do potatoes, bacon and cheese add up to 100 calories? your world. ♪ [ whispers ] real bacon... creamy cheese... 100 calories... [ chef ] ma'am [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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unof the goals that president obama thoepd accomplish in his first term was comprehensive immigration reform. here we are in the last month f the first term and it's been pushed off to next year. for the millions of people living without documentation, this is an urgent problem we cannot forget that immigration has a long and labored history
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in this country. and patterns and perception of american migrants have long been the fibers that weave together our national history. when we consider just the huddled masses who made their way through ellis island, 40% of americans today can trace their ancestry to those who passed through ellis island in 1892 to 1954. between 1815 and 1915, 30 million europeans arrived in the united states representing approximately 90% of the immigration to the u.s. in that period. the majority of whom hailed from ireland and germany. almost half were from ireland alone. in 1855, more than 50% of the population of new york, the first port of call for the majority of immigrants, was foreign-born. but attitudes were changing. toward the end of the 19th sentry, just 1.6% of immigrants were asian. but apparently that was enough
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to push congress to pass the chinese exclusion act in 1882 restricting immigration from china for ten years. as public opinion turned against certain kinds of immigrants in the early 20th century, more legislative restrictions began to take hold. in 1924, the johnson-reid immigration act created a quota system. it puts caps on the number of immigrants that could come to the u.s. from a particular country. the act also included a provision that made certain immigrants ineligible for citizenship based on race or nationality. by the middle of the 20th septemberry, the face of immigration to the united states had begun to change. by the end of the 1970s, a third of the foreign-born population of the country hailed from latin america. today that trend has continued. in the last census, more than half of the foreign born population is from latin america. overall, almost 13% of the
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population are new immigrants. by and large, our fellow americans came through legal channels. only 29% were undocumented migrants. of those undocumented people, 86% have been living in the u.s. for seven years or longer. many within what we might think of as traditional american families. 16.6 million americans live in families with at least one undocumented immigrants. $1.5 trillion is the amount that could be added to the gdp over ten years if the undocumented immigrants are granted legal status. while we wait, approximately 1,087 people are deported every day by the obama administration. coming up, does the president owe a debt to the dreamers? make a wish! i wish we could lie here forever. i wish this test drive was over,
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to bypass congress and change the laws on my own. believe me -- [ applause ] and believe me, right now dealing with congress, the id idea -- >> that was a tough one. that was the president getting heckled last year. this summer those dreamers had their demands met, at least in part with the deferred action for childhood arrivals ordered by president obama. so far, 310,000 young people have applied. that action may in fact have bore fruit for the president on election night when he took home 71% of the latino vote. yet, no comprehensive reform had been attempted by the obama add mrpgs. many are still looking to the president for leadership on the issue. back with my panel. i'm interested in this because
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this is a moment on the one hand they're heckling, but the next moment they do basically what i have to read from a page in the republican handbook, they hand to him a policy. they're like here, do this. and sure enough, he does it. we end up with deferred action. >> right. >> is that the model for how we're going to get immigration reform done sm. >> i have to give those dreamers credit. they enlisted a lot of scholars and gave the president documents, this is a legal way for you to do what we want to do. meanwhile, they were chaining themselves to the white house, this is in the thick of the campaign, staging demonstrations at his campaign offices. this is true grassroots activism and they effected this change. for better or worse, the pressure is going to be on. because this issue, you know, the latino community has a great stake in it. so people do expect him to follow through and make
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something happen and i always tell people, maybe i'm too optimistic, but i do think it's going to happen. not only because of the pressure but because i think obama is going to be thinking about his legacy. this could be historic. >> it felt like the -- i wanted to write this little handbook. when making critique of president, here's how you could do it, right? you provide a policy pathway. you provide the public push, right, outside. but then you also provide the electoral support. like all three of those, the next thing you know you end up with policy. it really is sort of a textbook way of thinking about it. but it's still not comprehensive. the president isn't wrong. you must have congress come along on this. >> yes. the president has -- every indication is that the president is supportive. he said repeatedly both publicly and in private conversations released to the press that this is one of his top issues. on another level, it doesn't matter if he says this. because the movement is going to push him to do it.
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it's a very strong and unified movement. it's not just the dreamers, or latino organizations, it's civil rights organizations, the labor movement, it's evangelicals, parts of the business community. there will be immigration reform in 2013 and the president will be forced to sign something that gets through congress whether he wants to or not. it's clear he does want to. >> it appears he wants to. the dream act, here we are in lame duck again, lame duck in 2010 was the great exciting moment for progressives. a thousand things that hadn't happened pineally happened. no particular conversation about another dream act again. >> let's keep in mind. i'm not as optimistic about the future of ledge indication as you. in the context of the immigration problem, immigration policy problem, let's say, in the united states, dreamers and the dream act is symbolic. it aekts a lot of people. it's symbolic in a universe where we have 10 million or 11 million or however many in the
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shadows. we have 141,000 visas a year. what the hell is that? >> it's that history, right? >> it is that history. >> it's bur okay tra advertised this kind of stuff. it's not a solution of expand the number. that's about the same number as australia. i think we're a bigger country. i think the economy is a little bit bigger. people are not talking about that. we have an absurd situation to get 10,000 visas a year from mexico. i'm from southern california, you can fit those 10,000 visas in about half of long beach where i'm from. it doesn't begin to make sense. people aren't talking about that. i don't think obama is pressured to deal with this because he got four more percentage points. >> this is the artificial crisis. the crisis of insufficiency, it's created by our actual policy. with a stroke of the pen, we can change it. with legislation like all issues that are difficult, they're difficult for a reason. it's tough to get their
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politically but the easiest way to go about it. let's get the numbers of visas way up there so it reflects at least some bit of reality and stop criminalizing human existence. >> business push on this as well. >> there's a business push. frankly, there's going to be a fight. even though business is on the same side as immigrant rights movement, there will be a fight between business and those groups. because business will probably, the chamber of commerce and others will want a more conservative kind of immigration reform. just to back up to your textbook example, what's important about this discussion is 15 years ago, this was not in the mainstream of discourse. it was a small group of activists who dreamed about what immigration reform could look like and started organizing and pushing it. 15 years later, their theory of change has come true in terms of -- >> at least. >> yes. but in terms of knowing how immigration affects millions of people thinking through how those people could be mobilized into an electorate that would vote on this question. now we're all discussing
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immigration reform. >> but now there's a thousand deportations a day. >> i'm going to take a quick break here. i'm going to bring into the conversation the issue on the pressure of the president and also we saw an action by the republican party this week and i think it leads us to the question of whether both parties are in fact under a lot of pressure on this question of immigration reform when we come back. or that printing in color had to cost a fortune. nobody said an all-in-one had to be bulky. or that you had to print from your desk. at least, nobody said it to us. introducing the business smart inkjet all-in-one series from brother. easy to use. it's the ultimate combination of speed, small size, and low-cost printing. starts with arthritis pain and a choice.
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on friday the house of representatives passed the stem jobs act which could offer green cards to students with advanced degrees in science and math from u.s. colleges and universities. a win for the republican congress majority leader eric cantor had this to say. >> the bill that we passed will allow these individuals to have a green card if they get a diploma. therefore, enabling them to stay in this country to begin their
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careers to create jobs rather than being forced to leave to go back to their home countries and actually compete with us. >> for the majority leader, this is a bill that awards a certain kind of contribution to the american family but it effectively picks winners and losers when it comes to immigration. the stem act would offset visas for the highly educated by eliminating those from the visa program, half of which provide entry to the u.s. for applicants from african nations. >> tara, this language of saying compete with us, that's what the immigration fight is often about. the notion that some immigrants are bringing skills that we want to keep, like stem, engineers and that sort of thing and others are bringing skills that we don't want to compete in our labor market, particularly with a soft labor market, let's use our policy to keep out the ones we don't. >> the whole notion that we're discussing this and the scope of
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immigration is specifically with dream and all these others really speak to just the education portion of it. as we know, immigration is more comprehensive and broader. whether it's stem, to that end we're speaking about those who are here getting educations, those in military service and younger people. i think, look, at the end of the day, let me back up a couple of seconds to the last segment. i want to say, i agree with matt in that i'm very optimistic person but i'm not as optimistic as the others that we're really going to get anything done. first of all, the president promised this since 2008. it was democrats that have been getting on his case and hispanics, as you saw in the past election who put his feet to the fire on this. at the end of the day, some conservatives and others found it a political move. i'm going do something in august before the election. i would hope we do something. it's the republican position in a number of ways to handle this
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in kind of segments. i agree with that position because you almost have to. we haven't had immigration reform really since 1986 and ronald reagan where it was amnesty, security. we've only done amnesty. many conservatives and republicans. >> i would just take a vote democrats and republicans push this off. george w. bush also during his eight years in office didn't bring it. i agree with you. >> here's why we'll see immigration reform in 2013. >> doubtful. >> the achieve act essentially is by the way, the achieve act doesn't provide a path for citizenship. it's the dream act without the dream. >> it's a dud. >> two outgoing senators. >> that's valid. >> the stem act is proposed by lamar smith, notoriously anti-immigrant. when he's sponsoring an immigration reform bill, something has changed in the republican party. when two outgoing senators are proposing their version of immigration reform, something
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changed in the republican party. >> i think, again, until we look at the -- it's almost three-pronged. until we look at the enforcement issues, those issues, then we can do -- >> but the thing is you don't have to deal -- you can create path to citizenship in pieces, in stages without dealing with them. instead of saying we can't do anything until we do it all. >> my sister-in-law, she's south african, she came here ten years ago, it took her seven years to gain status. this is after she had been married, had kids. that is the legal path. we have to start talking, republicans want to talk about putting back on the table how do we enforce and enable and talk about encouraging legal immigration. i think that's part of the discussion as well. it has to be. >> yes. it does have to be. going back just for a moment to the stem act, all i have to say about that is no, 10,000 times no. >> because of the tradeoff. >> the cherry picking who we
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want. i tell people, ellis island did not have a separate line for people who had masters degrees or ph.d.s. a lot of us would not be here -- it's organized around family unity and we have a random diversity lottery for a reason. when we talk about reform, what we hear again and again and again from republicans, as you mentioned, is that we need to secure the border, enforce our immigration laws and then we can get to the question of what are we going to do with the 11 million people who are already here. but the fact is, we have secured our border. the pure hispanic, "the new york times," the migration policy institute all say that the illegal entries on the border are at an all-time low. the greatest drop since the great depression. we have done that. >> [ overlapping talking ] >> i was going to say, the main way we so-called secure our borders is market forces.
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>> right. >> the decline between '04 and 2010 in people coming to the u.s. is because there are fewer economic opportunities. >> the wall has made it more difficult for people. >> that's the second part of the equation. >> mexico is a lot richer even with the civil war. >> right, right. comparatively. i want to be clear. it's the comparative markets between the two nations. >> but what we're also doing, getting a second step. the enforcement. we are doing that. for better or worse, the record deportations. the border is more militarized than ever before. we have done those two steps. it's time to move on. >> this was the legal status -- >> i appreciate -- >> the 1,000 deportations a day is a step we needed to take? >> we are enforcing it. >> i would like the deportations to stop and like stem would be okay if it wasn't a tradeoff. if we weren't increasing -- one could create a new market
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force -- the problem is it's a tradeoff. >> illegal immigrants, we still have to talk about the fact that we have -- >> so we just -- >> immigration. >> law isn't just a truth. the law is what we create. so we can look at and change our laws. >> look at all these things at one time. it doesn't have to be bundled up in the same package. >> they're screaming at me in the control room. commercial, commercial, pay the bills. >> thank you for coming. i'll see you again next week. everybody else is staying a little longer. stay with us for the next hour. we're going to pay for the bills for a minute. when we come back, we'll talk about the filibuster. i might even filibuster a little bit. i like to do that on this show. when we come back. try running four.ning a restaurant is hard, fortunately we've got ink. it gives us 5x the rewards on our internet, phone charges and cable,
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at legalzoom, we've created a better place to handle your legal needs. maybe you have questions about incorporating a business you'd like to start. or questions about protecting your family with a will or living trust. and you'd like to find the right attorney to help guide you along, answer any questions and offer advice. with an "a" rating from the better business bureau legalzoom helps you get personalized and affordable legal protection. in most states, a legal plan attorney is available with every personalized document to answer any questions. get started at today. and now you're protected. welcome back. i'm melissa harris-perry. when the 113th congress is
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seated -- adding the two independents who will caucus with the dems. a ten-vote advantage. yet, as things stand now, it means nothing. absolutely nothing. because without a 60-vote majority. the leadership party is at the mercy of one simple thing. the thing at the core of inaction and dysfunction in washington. the filibuster. the mangled manipulated, miss appropriated filibuster. there is a filibuster that most of us love. that would be the jimmy stewart, mr. smith goes to washington kind. the way it used to be. or at least the way it used to be romanticized. one lone political hero standing on the senate floor fighting for what he knows is right using the senate rule saying that one senator one speaking can speak for as long as he or she wants so long as he or she continues speaking and standing. it could prevent a vote and single handedly save the day for
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the cause he held so dear. a much less romantic version of that rare event when the late senator strom thurman set the record going 24 hours, 18 minutes all to try to derail the civil right acts of 1957. here he is romanticizing about how he set the record. >> how did you last 24 hours? you never left the senate floor. >> i don't answer the -- beforehand and dried out my body. >> in the sauna? >> yes. so i wouldn't be tempted to go to the bathroom. so i was able to do that. >> oh, dehydration, no big deal when you're trying to stop the first civil rights since reconstructi reconstruction. strom thurmond was on the wrong
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side of congress. today senators need not speak on the chamber floor, need not stand, need not show up. they have to make the threat of the filibuster by blocking motions to proceed. any one of the hundred senators can do it and to be overruled, 60 senators must vote the lone senator down. the quirky senate rule create the need for a super majority and anything of substance to get done, unless the rules change. senate leader harry reid with the white house's backing is threatening to change the rules so that only a simple majority will be needed to begin debate on legislation and force a return to the old days of real filibustering. senators taking on the floor. minority leader mitch mcconnell is aghast at such a ploy claiming he's breaking the rules to change the rules. of course in 2005 when mcconnell was considering the same thing over president bush's judicial nominees, it was minority leader reid's turn to be aghast. therein lies the real issue. the party in power wants the ability to exercise power.
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but the american people want action. at the table steven spalding, staff counsel for common cause, a group suing the nat to have the filibuster declared unconstitutional. tara wall, dorian warren and lawyer and nbc latino contributor, raul reyes. >> all right, steven, how could it be unconstitutional? >> the constitution does say each chamber can set its own rules. we think the senate should be able to do that with a majority belief. contemporary to popular belief, the 11th amendment was thou shalt need 60 votes to pass a bill. if you go back to the founding, the founders in the federalist papers said they considered a super majority requirement and rejected it. they said to have a super majority requirement could be used by a corrupt hunt a to embarrass the administration,
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make it look weak and infect actual and eventually -- >> so let's go to the -- this is like i got my political science excitement going on, right? let's go back just a little bit. i think there are a couple of different things. one is that the senate itself sucks when it comes to the idea -- no. when it comes to the idea of being a representative body, right? >> right. >> the whole point of the legislator is that the house of representatives is going to represent the people through proportional representation, but that the senate, everybody gets two. nobody lives in wyoming, but they get the same number of senators as new york. why would a simple majority of senators does not constitute a majority. it is meant to protect the rights of minorities. >> the point of the suit is that the constitution lays out when a super ma yort is required. it's required to amend the
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constitution, to pass treaties, to overcome a veto. not required to pass legislation. the key thing, we're talking about the filibuster, we're not talking about jimmy stewart railing on the senate floor. there were no filibusters in 1939 when that film came out. john lewis, keith ellison, three dreamers joined the cause to say wait a minute, let's look at the dream act. passes the house, got 55 votes in the united states senate, president obama said he would sign the act and it didn't pass. let's see. did it embarrass the administration, make them look weak and infect ul. that's pretty much what was warned against. the theory here is the constitution lays out what is required to pass a bill and getting 60 votes isn't one of them. >> one more real quick thing, though. >> sure. >> on this question, the other thing the founders had a lot angst about was the majority. i get you. for the most part, the people who have used the filibuster think are a nasty, funky, ugly
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history, particularly for people of color. on the other hand, the whole point is the protection of minority rights. i'm always nervous about anything that says well if the majority wants it, good job. i'm often going to find myself in not the majority, right? >> i agree completely. i think there are processes that the senate could come up with that would let -- we need to have respect for the minority, of course, we need to -- we need a robust, loud, boisterous debate. that was what democracy is about. >> yes. >> the way this is working, we can't start a debate. the filibuster debate, we don't start a debate. they're filibustering the motion to proceed. where is the discussion on the senate floor? it's leading to a cynicism about government, elections have consequences, people go and vote for elected representatives. it's playing into the hands of those that don't want government to work. >> the situation we have now, the status quo, i agree with you, it's leading to a disintegration of our government
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and our democratic process because i'm very ambivalent about the reform because on one handy agree, it's to have as much debate as possible on the senate floor. that is a great thing. but, again, it was created for a reason to give the minority party a mechanism and a voice and i always try and think like if the tables were turned and the republicans were in the other position, would we all be so gung-ho about the filibuster. i think that it's a slippery slope. the other thing with your lawsuit that i think is important, one of the things when you talk about filibusters, for people it's important to realize that if you care about climate change, if you care about immigration, you should care about filibuster. >> we get obsessed with elections because they change the personality, if we don't take the time to actually talk about the rules, we don't know how the personalities are operating. >> in addition to those issues, there are two historic issues
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that the filibuster has been used to defeat, pro labor legislation and i am dprags. it's interesting when you look at the long scope of history how it's changed. because of that, in fact, the filibuster requirement to invoke culture came down in 1975 from 67 votes to 60. that's where it's been now. i also am worried about this debate in terms of do we just eliminate the filibuster or do we reform it so that people have to go to the floor as you said. >> it's up for -- look, they determine the rules. you know, look, at the end of the day, i think most people don't want polarization. that's the problem not the procedure. i don't know that this gets at the issue of polarization. that's what people don't want to see. i think it is important to preserve minority rights in the scope of -- there's enough hypocrisy to go around, who uses it, who uses it too much. senator reid in 2005 was
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rallying against and so was a then senator obama. there's enough to go around on both sides. at the end of the day, look, if we're going to examine the issue, examine parts of it, whether we should be arguing this out in the public, you don't do away with an entire filibuster. be done with it though. >> you make a good point about the polarization. the assumption was you'd have overlapping interests. sometimes people would vote by party. other by geography and other by rural versus urban or north versus south but they would overlap. so you would never get -- you can't look and say you got 60. 60 would show up in different formulations. parties have become the dominant. when a party that was of course just the segregationist democrats hanging out with the republicans, when we come back, we'll talk more about this. you know, it really is my sense that progressives keep talking about this.
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you can call what i'm doing today whatever you want. you can call it a filibuster, a very long speech. i'm not here to set any great records or to make a spectacle. i am simply here today to take as long as i can to explain to the american people the fact that we have got to do a lot better than this agreement
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provides. >> that was vermont senator bernie sanders about two years ago. he was speaking up, speaking up, speaking up. at that point in protest against president obama's 2010 proposed tax deals compromise with the congressional republicans. technically, it wasn't an actual filibuster because he wasn't preventing republicans from speaking and doing business. he did go on for 8 hours and 37 minutes. no words on whether he used the sauna to dehydrate himself. i remember bernie sanders doing this and my twitter feed going nuts with enthusiasm after two years of saying we should get rid of the filibuster. then it was like go bernie, go bernie, go. i thought, we like it when it's our guy doing it. >> that's where we get the distinction. when i say filibuster, i'm knot talking about holding the floor. that's great. he had eight hours to get his point across. now the filibuster is i'm going
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to send an e-mail to mr. mcconnell, it's going to take 60 now. then you don't have that debate. you block it at the outset. we don't have that discussion. >> so it's changed. >> is that the reform that matters? i want to point out, there was another time when progressives got excited. that was in the wisconsin walkout. this wasn't a filibuster in terms of reading the phone book. when the wisconsin lawmakers walked out and in fact took asylum in another state. i mean, again, enthusiasm for this idea of using the rules of the game in order to push the legislative effort. i guess it goes back in part to what was being said. this is the rule of the game. the question is which political parties are able to make use of the existing rules or is it as dorian was saying -- >> you can't like in the middle of the game, you get this. people want to wipe the chips. it's unfair. you have to almost ask why
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they're doing this. there's so much more at stake after this election. there's so much on the plate of americans right now. yet, some things are done procedurally, historically. it's like why right now? why this? why right now? >> kind of why we're -- if somebody works at a nonpartisan organization, i don't care who is in power. i want government to work and move things forward and have some progress rather than another two years of absolute. >> gridlock. >> and utter stalemate. >> i was at an event at the museum in washington. with michael en. >> i'm sorry. >> he said that you guys didn't do too well. you lost two seats in the senate. he says i don't care. two numbers that matter. we have more than 40. and we can stop absolutely whatever we want. >> that's no good. >> that's how -- >> he's not elected. he's not going to be making an eight-hour speech about it. >> one other quick point of
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clarification. we talk about how the filibuster was intended as x,y z. you go back to the rule books, they were the same between the house and the senate, you can end on a majority vote. he comes along in 1806 and says we're a body of gentlemen and we shall change the rules and we can respectfully end debate and we don't need this messy rule book. it took about 100 years before we started to have filibusters and woodrow wilson in 1917 said the senate is a group of willful men who have made the united states helpless and contempt i believe. we need a way to end debate. up is down and down is up. we don't have debate. we don't start a debate. we've finally gone to the courts to say, yes, the senate can make its own rules but they're not unlimited. they're constrained by the constitution. one way is this is how you pass a bill. >> can you send me a coffee mug with that woodrow wilson quote.
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>> this contemptible group of little men. >> republicans would argue that there have been instances whereas being in the minority, they have been, should utilize whether democrats or republicans, for example the jobs act and then senator harry reid essentially stripped away gop bipartisan provisions that would have helped small businesses and those unemployed to get them pack to work. obama care is another one. >> i think it is worth asking the question about being careful -- even beyond whether it's good or bad, being careful about changing the rules when you're in the majority. you should always assume in a country like this, you're going to be in the minority again. we're not in a place where any party is going to dominate. >> there's another danger. i'm for filibuster reform, but this is not a quick fix. the democrats change the rules, instead of focusing on partying
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building instead of the 60 votes. in a democracy, the way that you know what people want is if they free and fair regular election. >> right. >> this argument about when the democrats are what progressives that might be nervous. everybody has unclean hands in this process. at least we could return to talking about substance. when georgew bush wanted to privatize social security, he had a republican house, it didn't pass the republican house. it was not filibustered. it was unpopular because there's a debate about how unpopular it was. >> that's good. it should require some effort. you should be out making your case. risking -- it should require some effort. not as you said. pushing a button or citing something. >> when you debate, you need free and pharafaipharaoh owe st tara and raul, thank you for being here. dorian going to hang out a
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little bit. i'm going to talk with dorian about the fast food walkout just the other day. don't call it a comeback. labor has been here for years. . i was worried the health care system spoke a language all its own with unitedhealthcare, i got help that fit my life. information on my phone. connection to doctors who get where i'm from. and tools to estimate what my care may cost. so i never missed a beat. we're more than 78,000 people looking out for more than 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare.
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for purchasing prevacid24hr. prevent acid all day and all night for 24 hours with prevacid24hr. often carries little to no benefits and very little control over one's schedule. it's a job. it's what some folks call a mick job. meets the technical description of employment but can be tough to live on. demanding better is hard for many, especially when they can be easily replaced. but hundreds of fast food workers here in the city of new york took the chance on thursday morning at 6:30 a.m. local time and walked out. protesting for higher pay and the right to organize. in all, reported 200-plus workers took part, including one worker who was later fired. but then, rehired at a brooklyn
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wendy's restaurant after the restaurant's actions came under direct protest. it's the kind of retaliation and something that these employees are consistently living in fear of and why they stepped out following in the footsteps of the recent walmart black friday strikers. are we now at a tipping point for low-wage labor. are we at a place where it's making a comeback. dorian warren is here with me. i know your work and research and efforts are really around labor organizing. tuesday was quite an exciting moment. >> yes. it was an absolutely exciting, especially the week after black friday where hundreds and thousands of people supported walmart workers, also going on strike. just a little context. fast food as well as retail, fastest growing jobs in america. seven out of ten fastest growing are the low wage jobs, fast food and retail are some of the biggest. the employers, the big employers of fast food, in terms of fast
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food and walmart are profitable. they're making more profits now than before. >> more even as the downturn, economic downturn occurred, huge profits for these folks. >> that's right. the reality is, these are not teenage jobs. these are adults who are working. they want to work full-time, the average for -- is about 24 hours a week. you can't survive on that. they would still be living in poverty. we're seeing an effort of workers to take extraordinary risk to say no, we want a living wage and we want the right to join a union without retaliation. between walmart and fast food work and mcdonald's and wendy's workers, this is the year of the strike it seems like in 2012. >> one of the things when we talked about the walmart example and in the fast food, pat of the reason the profits are up is because ordinary working americans or nonworking americans are relying on the low cost of the hamburger and french fries or the low cost of a walmart item. if i pay my workers more, isn't
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it simply more expensive for you to get that item or hamburger and therefore, we're actually making it tougher on poor people? >> well, a couple of things there. one is, we as taxpayers subsidize the low-wage model of these employers who are reaping in huge profits. so we're actually paying for food stamps and medicaid and health insurance for workers who are trying to do their best to survive and provide for their families. we shouldn't be subsidizing walmart and mcdonald's. they can afford to pay a higher wage, $15 an hour. that's the demand of the fast food campaign, as well as of retail and fast food workers in chicago. >> they're basically giving -- these folks are getting out of it in two ways. they don't pay the higher wage, the grover norquist plan and as corporations are passing on that social safety net to taxpayers who are making -- who are subsidizing. >> by the way, if workers got a living wage, if they made $15 an hour, they would actually spend it, which would then, right.
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>> stimulate the economy. >> which would increase the number of jobs in this country. >> you and i -- you grew up in and i spent a lot of time in chicago when we first met and we were both feeling sad about the end of the career of representative jesse jackson. whatever his failings, man, this guy was on this issue of the minimum wage. >> i have strong feelings about this because that campaign in 1995 was the very first political campaign i worked on. jesse jackson jr. was the key champion in the increase in the minimum wage. it has not kept up with the rising cost of everything in our society. it's $7.25 now. it's not enough. when you add up in temps of 40 hours a week, you're still living in poverty. >> i keep thinking of sort of minimum wage jobs as teenagers on summer break. this is what people are actually feeding their families. >> these are adults. there are two issues. scheduling is a huge issue in
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these industries. people that work at fast food restaurants don't have control over their hours. >> you can't take a second job. in terms of picking up kids from school, it's really tough on these workers. it doesn't have to be that way. >> there is a different way. hopefully with some of this movement we'll begin to see that different way. stay with us. we're going to stay on this topic. workers. we're going to go below the line again. that's where we like to go. this time we'll talk about the situation for domestic workers. a kind of invisible labor in this country. what's happening when we come back. we use in a year can add up. how's the run? but 300 of them can be replaced with just one brita filter. it was good. thanks. brita. filter for good.
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free them from the oppressive hold of poverty. for dough moes particular workers, who cook, clean, take care of kids and keep employers ee families afloat, they work in such poor conditions that often for them the line is nowhere in sight. a new collaborative report by the national dough moes particular workers alliance, the university of illinois at chicago and the data center interviewed 2,086 nannies, care-givers and house cleaners in 14 cities and uncovered how dire the situation is for domestic workers. 67% receive pay below state minimum wage. 65% have no health insurance. 35% work long hours without breaks. and forget about trying to raise a stink. because 23% were fired for complaining about work conditions. this is not just about money. it's about creating a better economy that creates pathways to better jobs with opportunities for all workers to live above the poverty line.
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at the table, director of the national domestic workers alliance. executive director of the brazilian -- and ph.d. candidate at boston university. annette a bern heart, policy co-director of the national employment and fellow at the roosevelt institute and dorian warren, professor at columbia university. nice to have you all here. >> thank you. we met a couple of years ago on a panel. i've been so impressed with the work that the domestic workers alliance has been trying do to address these issues. explain to me the relevance of these kinds of findings. >> first of all, i think the fact that the study exists is already a huge breakthrough. because this is the first time we've ever had national data and statistics on this workforce. it really contributes to the invisibility of the work itself and the role, the important role that this workforce plays in the economy. then i think the startling story
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that this report tells that the people, the workforce that we count on to take care of our families every day, cannot take care of their own families on the wages and the conditions that they're facing in the workplace. >> i think for me as an empirical political scientists, i get how critical it can be to have data, to say 65% -- i'm the granddaughter of a domestic worker. it's what my grandmother did. i lived as a live-in nanny in graduate school. i experienced a fantastic family. but why shouldn't there be fundamental rights. as a single mom for many years, i employed someone who cared for my child. i feel like i've seen every side of this. when you tell the runoff stories, it becomes you're a good employer or bad employer rather than being able to say no, this is a structure that creates these circumstances. talk to me a little bit about your personal experiences. >> my personal experience, i was brought here to be a nanny and i
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was supposed to be part of the family, learn about the culture, go to school and very soon i found myself taking care of the entire household, the children, i was being paid $25 per week and i was living on a porch and with no hopes and no one to help me. >> i really -- this to me is so important for folks to get. it's that job creep that happens that doesn't happen in any other country. you're hired to do one thing, but without a contract, the next thing you know, you're doing five different jobs. >> that's right. being mistreated. emotionally, it's very damaging to us. because we also, we want a job to provide care, we provide love, we give hugs and kiss to the children and they become our responsibility. you care about them. that even puts you in a situation that you're more vulnerable because you don't want to leave.
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you're the sole caretaker of the child in the family. what's going to happen to the children if i leave? will they be okay? >> that sense of like the thing that keeps you in is this kind of intimate relationship with the employer. in a way that for example you don't feel about the guy who owns the local wendy's, right? you may be in an exploitive relationship financially but it's emotionally. >> i do think the key point here is that this industry, we often say it's structurally wired for exploitation. there's two pieces to it. one is if you look at the legal framework for these workers, they have very few protections on the job. then we're asking them to go into this very private, closed-off space and bargain one-on-one with an employer in a context where there is this whole emotional relationship as well. i mean, we're basically leaving them on their own and we don't have their backs in terms of coverage, in terms of minimum
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wage protection, right to organized protections, et cetera. i feel like this is a structural problem and it's colliding with this very specific private emotional space of worth. >> let's look at the structures, i want to look at issues like pay and benefits, things we normally think about for workers. from this study, we see in terms of low pay, you've got nearly a quarter paid below state minimum age. about 70% paid under $13 an hour and these are in urban contexts where the data was done. $13 an hour is not much in a place like new york or chicago for example. if we look at benefits, we'll see that the vast majority of domestic workers are existing without health insurance, one of the stories here was about someone whose arm was broken and she was fired. in terms of financial hardships, this is the one that just intense. that 60% of people working as domestic workers spend more than half of their income on rent or
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mortgage. 40% had essential bills that were late over the course of the past couple of months and many experienced food insecurity. this is the face of people who are giving the hugs and kisses and in fact, making american families work. like, again, as a single working parent, i could not -- it would have been impossible without some support. >> that's right. it's the invisible engine of the economy. without it, nothing else would be possible. we often ask our members to imagine what if one day every domestic worker in the city of new york decided to it go on strike? can you manl, there isn't a single part of the economy that wouldn't be affected directly by this. it goes to show the incredible integration of this workforce into every aspect of how the modern economy runs. >> the engineers would not get to work on time, the lawyers would not be. all of that happens because of caretakers for elderly and for children. i mean, so how do we move to a space where we start changing
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what those structures look like? >> i think we see not only with the national domestic workers alliance, the domestic workers united here in the new york, i think we see the emergence of a 21st century labor movement. discovering solidarity and action and being willing to take the risk with a lot of support around them to step out and say, no, these are my rights. i want the right to organize. i want these labor protections and i'm willing to do whatever it takes to get them. >> i want to come to you as soon as we come back. the fact that you are a doctoral candidate in sociology after the story you told us is fascinating and worth hearing more about. i also want to ask whether or not labor laws can make a difference for domestic workers when we come back. this holiday, share everything. share "not even close." share "you owe me..."
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domestic workers. we were talking about the job creep situation, how it happens. talk to me, because you are now doing two things. you are a ph.d. sociology, student and you're organizing other domestic workers. >> that's right. when you're in a situation where you're being exploited and you don't see a lot of options and you don't have resources, you feel like it's your moral obligation to get involved. you have the responsibility to change society when no -- this is historical exclusion. it's very systematic. we wanted to make a change. education for me was the outlet. to learn and be able to teach all this. to understand the laws and society structure, to understand where all this exclusion and exploitation is coming from. as you know, it stems from slavery and jim crowe who has been fighting all that. who is doing the work now. being a ph.d. student gives me a lot of insight into society and the history and creates for me a
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space where i can be in a community where i understand some of the issues because i have dealt with them myself, but at the same time, having the background to really mobilize and organize the community not just my own, but work with the multitude of all the immigrants communities so we can together create changes. changes in labor laws, changes in ways of people thinking about domestic worker because they're essential to our families, economy and country. that's how we're doing it. >> you're mobilizing in massachusetts along a model that you used here in new york in terms of domestic workers bill of rights basically. >> right. look, there's a lot of great employers out there. wonderful employers. then there's the whole other end of the spectrum where we see modern day slavery and human trafficking cases and everything in between. >> right. >> the thing we want to do is establish guidelines and protections and standards. it's clear what the right thing is and it's a baseline.
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there's a bottom -- there's a clear set of standards for everyone. >> it really is like a baseline. i just wanted to look at some of the public policy rules that you all are hoping to -- the group has and you're working on in massachusetts. these are very, very basic. the right to associate. minimum wage, overtime pay, uninterrupted sleep. workers' compensation. all sorts of things that most american workers have enjoyed for decades now. the idea that i should have more than four hours of uninterrupted sleep as a live-in domestic care provider seems like a low-level thing to ask for. yet, clearly we need legislation to push towards that. >> absolutely. what i would say is i think sort of looking forward, i think there's so much common cause to make between domestic workers and workers who are -- even a lot of the low-wage workers who are covered de facto are not. we've seen violations of minimum
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wage, health and safety laws, right to organize laws. so i think the bigger project here is one we have to improve our labor standards, we have to cover everyone who is not covered. and we have to do much more enforcement. we currently have about a thousand investigators who are charged with enforcing minimum wage and overtime laws for about 40 million low-wage workers in this country. you know, if you're an alien and looking at the united states, your read is that the united states has thrown workers under a bus. both the workers that it does not even include in protection and increasingly, the fast food workers, the car wash workers, the taxi drivers, folks who might be partially covered. i think of this all as one campaign for america's future. >> the point that was being made about who has always done this work. typically women of color who are increasingly now undocumented, immigrant or it was enslaved women or the context of jim
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crow. is part of this part of the general wage gap and also the sense that women's work isn't really work. it's just a natural extension of who we are as people. >> absolutely. i mean, of the many original sins in the u.s., one of them has to be the decision not to value care work as a public good. i mean something very specific by that. that we fund it fully so that everyone has access to quality care and that we pay a living wage. whether we're talking about domestic workers or home care workers or child care workers or cnas in hospitals, these occupations are at the very bottom of our wage distribution. we do not invest either in providing enough care and there's lots of families like we were talking about before who don't know how to juggle the elder care, the child care. where is the funding going to come from. then we don't pay a living wage. this to me, if we're going to solve the low wage problems of the u.s., fixing care work broadly understood, i think, is number one on the agenda.
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>> yeah. unfortunately, we've got to go on this. i sew appreciate the work that you all have done to gather the data to begin to think about what the landscape looks like but also that you continue to organize on the ground for workers speaking for themselves. more in just a moment. but first, it's time for a preview of weekends with alex witt. >> hello, melissa. new and chilly details in the murder-suicide of the kansas city football player and whether today's game should go on. >> a fast food strike in the biggest city, melissa you mentioned it. the potential that it will spread as well. head of the naacp will be joining me. does he think race plays into the criticism of susan rice. in office politics, willie geist experiences as an olympic host and the sexiest man alive. >> he personally crack up. >> it's funny to me.
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>> i love you, willie. >> we love you, willie. imt thank you, alex. up next, the story that inspired nerdland this week. a struggle for education from which we can all learn. you turn for legal matters? at legalzoom, we've created a better place to handle your legal needs. maybe you have questions about incorporating a business you'd like to start. or questions about protecting your family with a will or living trust. and you'd like to find the right attorney to help guide you along, answer any questions and offer advice. with an "a" rating from the better business bureau legalzoom helps you get personalized and affordable legal protection. in most states, a legal plan attorney is available with every personalized document to answer any questions. get started at today. and now you're protected. well, having a ton of locations doesn't hurt. and a santa to boot! [ chuckles ] right, baby. oh, sir. that is a customer. oh...sorry about that. [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. fedex office.
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this is the story of a young woman named ashlee from lafitte, louisiana. she was taking classes at the junior college. she middle-agajor in sociology. she earned a master's degree. there was one clear choice for the field she wanted to study. a program at uic, the university of illinois and chicago. she applied but didn't give in.
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she called and talked to them about the weaknesses in her application. she took the admission test three more times until she sufficiently improved her score. so she headed off to chicago to pu pursue her dream of becoming a professor. right? no. she has cerebral palsy. she requires the assistance of personal cay attendants. though they are supplied in louisiana through a new waiver, it's one of the most extensive services in the country and it makes a difference. it helps ashley to be the young woman she is today. but the state of louisiana refuses to allow ashley to transfer these services with her to illinois where she's been accepted into graduate school. uic agreed to defer her acceptance as she appeals the decision by her home. state. her acceptance is deferred but he dream is not.
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she applied to the program because they have the nation's premier program. and after finishing her ph.d. she plans to return to louisiana to teach and to start a nonprofit organization to help others living with disabilities. it's a big dream. but given her track record, it's one she can achieve. she's going to need help and needing help doesn't mean she's dependent. in fact, ashley said "independent means having control of one's life. even though there's a lot that i can't do for myself physically, i still have a voice." i wanted to her ashley's story as a reminder to all of us as we stand on the precipices of fiscal cliff, the help that we provide for ashley is an investment. it creates jobs for her health
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care workers. it benefits our national system of education by ensuring that someone with her skills and determination has a chance to teach and it combats stigma. here we are rooting for ashley because we know that once she earns that ph.d. she's going to make some serious contributions. that's our show for today. thank you for watching. i'm going to see you again next saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern. coming up is "weekends with alex witt." we put a week's worth of bad odors in a home.
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some aerosols may just mix with them. can febreze really remove them? we asked real people what they thought. take a deep breath for me. describe the smell. it's very pleasant. fresh. some kind of flower maybe? remove the blindfold... awww, oh yuck! i didn't smell any of that! febreze air effects doesn't mix, it actually removes odors. [ laughs ] wow, that's incredible. just another way febreze helps you breathe happy. hello, everyone. we're approaching high noon in the east. . welcome to "weekends with alex witt." here's some of the first five


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